Beneficial Bugs: USDA releasing hundreds of thousands of sterile LBAM in Long Beach

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun a five-month pilot project in Long Beach, California to determine whether sterile insect technology (SIT) can be an effective tool in agricultural officials’ ongoing effort to control the invasive light brown apple moth (LBAM) in California.

SIT is a proven and environmentally friendly method of controlling a pest infestation by introducing steriles that mate with the wild moths.  These pairings produce no offspring, and the high numbers of steriles released in the infested area make it much harder for wild moths to detect each other, so subsequent generations of the pest are substantially reduced.  Details are available online at www.aphis.usda.gov/anfs/july_2011.pdf.

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